Obama must reform invasive NSA snooping in 2014


Dec 31, 2013, 2:29 pm

Dawud Walid: Obama must reform invasive NSA snooping in 2014

2013 was perhaps the bumpiest of President Barack Obama’s time in office. Hearings over the Benghazi tragedy, the Egyptian coup regime thumbing its nose at America, a failed attempt to pressure the al-Assad regime in Syria, the temporary federal government shutdown and glitches in rolling out the Affordable Care Act are highlights of why 2013 has been rocky for the president. Perhaps the most troublesome of all, though, was the revelations regarding the pervasive collection of information of law-abiding Americans by the NSA.

Starting in 2014, it would be in our country’s long term civil liberties’ interests for President Obama to scale back the amount of NSA surveillance instead having the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately decide.

A review group handpicked by Obama to study the NSA’s widespread snooping recently concluded that meta-data collected “was not essential to preventing [terrorism] attacks.” This jibes with the ACLU’s conclusion that there is “no evidence that the bulk collection of Americans’ phone records has provided intelligence of any value that could not have been gathered through less intrusive means.”

Former constitutional law professor Obama has continued George W. Bush-era policies that have not only trampled on the 4th Amendment’s protection from unreasonable searches and seizures. These policies are not making us any safer. In fact, due to the sheer amount of data being collected, which cannot be probably evaluated, mass spying may actually come at a harm to national security. Such leaves the doors open for credible threats to slip through the cracks, such as the Boston Marathon bombing.

Benjamin Franklin famously waxed that, “He who gives up freedom for safety deserves neither.” In order to save our democratic way of life and to regain our credibility in the world when discussing liberty, my 2014 wish is to see President Obama return the NSA back to only being as intrusive as it was after President Richard Nixon.

My wish, however, may not come true, leaving the NSA’s spying to be continued or scaled back eventually by the Supreme Court.


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